It looked like it was going to be a dominant win for Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia, although that wasn’t to be and despite looking like he was out of contention, it was a great drive from Nico Rosberg to return to the podium to extend his lead at the top of the championship.
Yes, it was a tough pill to take for Lewis Hamilton and his legions of fans around the world, but sometimes these things just happen. Yes, it was unfortunate that he had another failure on his car, but he has been there before – remember 2014 and that mid-season run he had of bitter disappointment. The season isn’t over as we head to Japan and the final five races of the season, and this could be another great circuit for the current World Champion.
Now trailing by 23 points he is now by far the underdog, but you have to remember that Nico Rosberg hasn’t taken an engine penalty this year with the 21 races being strung out by five engines. That isn’t to say that he is going to have a failure, or an accident like we saw in Malaysia which could give a large swing to Lewis Hamilton, this championship is far from over.
Further back, and ‘silly season’ has rather fizzled out with Sergio Perez staying at Force India alongside Nico Hulkenberg (at least we think that is the case), with just Williams, Renault, Sauber and Manor waiting to confirm their drivers. At Williams it is expected Lance Stroll to be announced by the end of the season after winning his F3 crown, possibly alongside Valtteri Bottas. Renault is the difficult one, with the powers that be trying to get an alternative to Kevin Magnussen, although that looks like a tough call for 2017.
Honda are going to their home race in Japan going after a great result. Fernando Alonso has a new engine for the event, which looked it would be a good upgrade during free practice in Malaysia, and could even be a disruptor for the race and will be one to watch. They are starting to turn the corner at the end of the second year back into the sport, and combined with a new commitment from Renault means we could have three decent engine packages.
The weekend looks set to be interesting given the temperamental weather, rain for both Saturday and Sunday possible although not to the level of the race we saw two years ago.